When chemicals were first introduced in farming, everyone marveled at what they could do. Yields were dramatically increased. As with many technologies it was the upsides to the green revolution that were realized before the downsides were realized. (1)
In the beginning, the soil was untarnished so the damage done by chemical fertilizers initially was imperceptible. Petroleum based fertilizers did, and still do improve yields in farming.
Pests had yet to evolve resistance to the insecticides. Entire crops had been lost to pests. At times these losses were financially devastating. By spraying their crops farmers could prevent these losses, and end an infestation immediately.
American technologies were exported around the world as a revolution in agriculture – the green revolution.
Chemical fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, antibiotics, hormones, factory farms, and genetically modified organisms are all technologies employed by conventional agriculture. Rarely is it called the green revolution at present time. There is nothing green about biotechnology, at least not in the modern day, ecologically friendly meaning of the word green. (2)
There is a growing divide among farmers, environmentalists, agribusiness, agronomists and consumers. Many people feel that the chemicals and high technology (like GMOs) used in conventional agriculture ultimately amounts to scientific progress of the best kind. After all, many people are starving and this will help feed the world, or so the argument goes. Feeding the world doesn’t actually happen as a result of biotechnology, it is argued that it is necessary to see it done. (3)
These chemicals result in soil being depleted, topsoil destroyed, and pollution builds up from these technologies.
There are a number of other problems brought on by the green revolution, or conventional agriculture’s modern day techniques. Conventional methods are inhumane to animals; they spread disease and pollution and degrade our natural water resources, both freshwater and our nation’s seawater. (4)
Organic agriculture, which prohibits the use of chemicals and encourages crop rotation, protects natural resources, increases the nutritional value of food, and it reduces our food’s toxicity. In today’s times, a real revolution in farming is chemical and GMO-free.
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